Photos by Kimberly Wessels | Words by Audra Tracy

If you have ever wanted to experience the true devotion of a fanbase firsthand, come to a sold-out show in an open-air parking lot during a heavy rainstorm. No, the July heat, humidity, and eventual downpour did not deter the steadfast crowd from filling the Stone Pony SummerStage on Sunday evening, because, The Revivalists and The Head and The Heart were in town!

The impending storm caused a last-minute change to the line-up, and Danny Clinch’s Tangiers Blues Band was unfortunately bumped from the opening slot. But, as any Asbury Park local knows – you can’t keep Clinch (or his harmonica) away from the groove for long.

Fans of all ages filled the venue, and at 6:00 sharp, New Orleans’ own The Revivalists emerged, opening with ‘All My Friends’, a fitting tune that quickly set the theme for the evening. The eight-piece band is currently on tour in support of their fifth studio album, Pour It Out Into the Night, and the Stone Pony set featured a mix of new and old treasures, plus a whole lotta jams.

The Revivalists have definitely put in their ‘10,000 hours’ by now, and their solid on-stage chemistry invokes a big, beautiful blend of rock, blues, and soul. Getting eight people to do anything in sync is a challenge, but these guys make it all seem effortless – and joyful, too. The feeling was so infectious that, soon, Danny Clinch joined the band and lent his talents during the song, ‘Hurricane Winslow’.

Frontman David Shaw’s mighty vocals echoed across Asbury Park through fan favorites ‘Catching Fireflies’ and ‘Soulfight’ before the set culminated in a ‘family jam’ of the band’s current hit single, ‘Kid’. Members of The Head and The Heart jumped aboard for this one, as the audience roared in approval. The Revivalists saved their biggest hit for last, closing the set with the lovely little ear-worm that is ‘Wish I Knew You’.

Dark clouds were forming above Ocean Ave, but love was in the air. The Head and The Heart bravely took the stage and delivered their brand of American folk music, starting with ‘All We Ever Knew’ and followed by soulful singalongs like ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Another Story’. A definite highlight was during ‘Lost In My Mind’, when The Revivalists and Clinch came back out for one more round of collaborative bliss.

And then, down came the rain. But, when the skies opened up and let loose, no one in the crowd budged. There was no mad dash for cover. No stampede to the gate. Fans simply soaked it all up, embracing the beauty and magic of a summer show at the Jersey shore. The Head and The Heart carried on with two more songs, ‘Virginia’ and ‘Rivers and Roads’, before sending fans home – soggy, but satisfied.

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